The night Obama won, I was ecstatic.
Until I saw the returns from Proposition 8, out here in California.
For those of you who don’t know, Proposition 8 (or Proposition H8 as those of us who are against it like to call it) was a ballot initiative aimed at making sure that marriage is only legal between straight folks. As far as I’m concerned, it’s just an extension of the Bush-era culture wars, and a symptom of a populace which is scared and ignorant. How else can you explain it? Who does it harm if gay people want to get married? On the contrary: it harms all of us if any of us are not allowed to marry. It’s a basic question of civil rights.
The photo above was taken at a Proposition 8 rally in Los Angeles. We attended one closer to home, at City Hall in San Francisco.
It was HUGE, and it gave me hope that this is just a blip along the way. But there weren’t just a lot of people there, there were also a lot of great signs. Like this one:
Or this one, that speaks to the support the Mormon church gave to the Proposition:
Or this one:
That last sign touches on a more complicated, and tender issue that’s been getting more attention lately, as in this New York Times op ed piece, by Caitlin Flanagan and Benjamin Schwartz. It seems that African-American voters tended to vote against Proposition 8, and in an election which drew more of those voters than ever, those voters may have had a decisive impact on the results. They go on to say (in language that I find kind of extreme) that “a host of sociological studies confirm that many blacks feel a significant aversion to homosexuality itself, finding it morally and sexually repugnant.” While that definitely isn’t descriptive of the the black community that I’m a part of out here in Oakland, any of us who’ve listened to hip hop records, or followed mainstream black youth culture in the least will agree that there are some pretty serious issues out there that need to be addressed.
I would never begin to suggest that the struggles that gay people have faced are similar in any way to the struggles that black people have faced in this country, and I think that people who make the comparison are ludicrous and naive. The legacy of slavery is enormous, and continues to this day, whether we elect one, ten or twenty black presidents.
On a very simple level I must say that it’s hard for me to understand how a minority group that has suffered so much discrimination could throw their weight behind a measure that is so blatantly discriminatory. The only answer that makes sense: fear and ignorance. I think it’s good that this discussion is being brought forward and I think we have to engage with it, because I think that talking about it is the only way to educate ourselves to other people’s perspectives. I understand that tolerance is a lot easier for those that are privileged, but I for one want to understand how anyone, white, black, both or other, can defend an opposition to Proposition 8. And I want those people to understand that I don’t hate them for hating other people, I just don’t understand it. It strikes me as ignorant, plain and simple. It’s the same ignorance that GW Bush used and abused to claim victory in the 2004 elections, and the results of Proposition 8 are a reminder that the Bush era is not dead. Yet.
(to be continued…..coming in pt.2 : was Lincoln gay? does it matter?)
One Lincoln After Another
Artists Chris Kubick and Anne Walsh work together collaboratively on historically-based multimedia work under the name Archive. Archive’s work has included performance lectures, spoken word CDs, video games, exhibitions, and works on paper.
Archive presents “One Lincoln After Another,” finding Abe through short webisodes involving spirit mediums, photographs of Lincoln documents, sculptures made from Lincoln’s death mask, a Lincoln “presenter,” and a trip to several Lincoln monuments, including one in Tijuana, Mexico.
Adisa Banjoko explains how Black America's blind love affair with President Lincoln can be dangerous ...
I love the idea of pretzel logs. It's odd, but "log cabin" just isn't one of my mental pix of Abe, e ...
This Google Map is part of PBS's Looking For Lincoln documentary. Given that some of project artist ...
This is a collection of Lincoln papers.
Rosenbach Museum & Library
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